Sunday, January 5, 2020

Neither Confusing nor Confused

I don't ask my dreams to do much, though from time to time I do. A couple weeks ago I asked Jesus to appear in them and of course he did, in the form of a child's drawing. The emphasis was on innocence, with the underlying logic that impossible-to-bridge cultural gaps are readily bridged by love, and love is neither confusing nor confused.

If I listen now, the Holy Spirit is a still and calm and certain interior voice. In its presence is peace and the end of "nothing is missing but the confidence that nothing is missing." My life has been driven by a need to understand, especially the early familial chaos where so much of what I loved was destroyed, and the ones whose job it was to explain and protect and restore neither explained, nor protected, nor restored.

Late but perhaps not too late I begin to sort through what it means to have been raised by alcoholics and adult children of alcoholics.

Out walking last night I kept trying to find refuge - that's the wrong word, a better word is stability but even that's not quite right - in von Glasersfeld's refusal to countenance ontology. I'd work through the first couple of steps then drift into whispery conversations with folks who were dead, including some I'd never met. Is that a thing? My thing? When I tried to stop and get back to something more rigorous - more adjacent to explanation/protection/restoration - there was an interior feeling like a puzzle unmaking itself. It was as if somebody somewhere were saying, why not let me use your thought the way I want to use your thought?

Well, I do like a strong hand to guide me. Absent that guidance, I start coloring outside the lines real fast. And sure, who cares, lines are there to be crossed but I'm not a model of either happiness or freedom. It's like what matters is not obedience or disobedience but rather choosing in a deliberate way, an informed way, a way that harmonizes with the cosmos, which is itself intentional.

In this way, the many forms of rebellion - the many infidelities - are seen as the distractions that they are.

Yet I argued my way out of prayer three summers ago, and meditation is like sitting at the bottom of a pond. I mean, sure, sit quietly doing nothing but don't pretend that sitting quietly doing nothing isn't doing something. I'm a terrible gardener and the women tend the animals. When I pick up saws - as years ago when I picked up guns - somebody always gets hurt, often me.

A few nights after the Jesus dream - in the sloping billows between sleep and not-sleep - I thought clearly: you can step out of this corner any time you like but you have to say it clearly: I want to step out of this corner.

I suspect von Glasersfeld would urge me to take on a specific writing project and not deviate from it. Wapnick would say something to make me laugh, something you can only say when you, too, have experimented with metaphysical self-imprisonment. Jesus doesn't care if I study ACIM or not. He'll clearly lay down another card if that's what I ask. Many are the paths that lead to the pathless heart of it.

But maybe it's time to stop with the familiar games?

Snow flurries dart through bright sun just broaching the eastern line of hills, that line of cut stone that never doesn't put me in the infinitely-faceted mind of grace. How grateful I am for this landscape! I've noticed this winter that the bedroom prisms are less viable than in summer, which is a function not of less light, but rather the angle at which light enters the bedroom.

Knowing makes me happy. Rather than move them (which was my first impulse), I decide to sit quietly in the season and attend whatever reflection its dominion offers. One woman or no woman, said King David, who also pointed out that living is inflorescent. Write or don't write but for Christ's sake, write? "Your word games neither please nor displease the Lord," says the Holy Spirit, adding a moment later, "but your attendance at their creation is a most worthy gift."

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